The aspect that perplexes me the most is the justification people feel the need to give when they are eating what is considered to be ‘bad’ food.
(You all know my opinion on ‘bad’ foods; basically food lacks the capacity to draw on walls, rob banks, or mug and rape people, therefore, in my opinion, it lacks the capacity to “be bad”.)
In the realm of parenting and food, my levels of perplexity are increased (although, admittedly, when I was focussing on another aspect of Life that wasn’t parenting, the perplexity there was most significant for me).
Here’s my thing. Firstly, I don’t see the need for any justification of anything.
Essentially it boils down to things like having access to foods, having access to the RIGHT information about foods, about having limited access to the messages about foods, about having the skills and knowledge about foods and their preparation and more along those lines.
It also boils down to things like how tired you are, how easy or difficult things are, how much time you have, what you’re doing at the time, what is happening in your life at the time, your stress levels, some neighbour who likes to pop in around dinner time and can’t understand social cues … lots and lots of things.
All of them, mixed together in a large cauldron of Life, really. Add in a large dose of Other People, namely those you live with, and all of their preferences, likes, dislikes, and mood on the day.
There is no need to justify. You did what you did for dinner because you did it. It’s as simple as that.
What I find most perplexing, and to be honest, completely confusing about what is said in the big wide parenting world, mostly amongst parenting websites that I tend to avoid like I avoid mushrooms and the plague is a bizarre discourse around certain foods and times they are eaten.
Ice cream for breakfast
Ice cream for breakfast is one. Not that I have particularly come across many people serving a napolitana up on a regular basis.
The main rhetoric on this topic, however, appears to be “Oh, it won’t hurt them.”
Well, no, no it won’t. Not as a rule. Not when stated like that.
Not as a one off on very irregular occasions. Possibly those moments when your Can’t Be Arsed has reached a level you have never experienced before and don’t wish to again.
You know those moments? Yeah. Not fun.
Ice cream, whilst an amazingly delicious substance, depending on what sort you buy, tends to be – let’s go with the stuff we all know, bo-ring! – substantial in nutrients like fat and sugar.
What t lacks is what concerns me. It tends not to be a substance that provides lots of those other nutrients that the body needs. Even as far as calcium goes, it’s a bit of a non-event.
On regularish (and that will be determined so subjectively I can’t even begin to think about how often that may be) occasions, it will hurt them.
Even on one single occasions, although taking into account the surrounding circumstances, a bowl of ice cream for breakfast is going to set you up for a day of hell, because they will likely be hungry again, sooner rather than later, and if they don’t get some fibre into themselves, they’ll give you the shits with sore tummies and whining because they are incapable of shitting.
As a standalone thing, the “Ice cream for breakfast” is not a bother to me. It’s when I hear it alongside the more vehement …
I’m a bad mother because I gave my kids cereal for dinner!
That really bothers me.
This has been touted on many, many a parenting website and blog, including, but not limited to one highly read, and highly popular, mainstream site, the owner of whom wrote a book (or several) one of which included a Crap List.
This Crap List is one that she wrote down all the crap things she did as a mother. One of those items was Cereal For Dinner.
Mamma mia! Are people serious?
Cereal – depending on the type you serve up – is up there among some of the best things you can be eating. It contains quite a number of essential nutrients, is higher in calcium and lower in fat and sugar than a bowl of ice cream, and it contains fibre!
It has lots of good stuff in it that a body needs. And it keeps you regular.
So, okay, the downside is that whilst you’re not having to put up with whiney kids who can’t poo, you do have to hang around outside public toilets, or run late most mornings whilst they do poo.
But better than having them home under the guise that they’re ‘unwell’ with tummy pains.
As far as I’m concerned, we have the whole things backwards.
Even, dare I say it, mothers will beat themselves up over serving cereal, baked beans on toast, or cheese toasties to their kids for dinner on crazy nights, yet have approximately zero qualms about whipping past a Maccas on the way home to grab some burgers and fries.
Please, I don’t want this to turn into a MacDonald’s bashing party – I have NO problems with people doing this – my problem rests with them doing it THEN feeling shit, or being very okay with it but feeling shit about serving cereal or toast.
Beating themselves up because they served breakfast for dinner. That’s not okay. The beating themselves up bit.
All of those things contain much more nutritional substance than Maccas will, are cheaper, and easier to prepare. Most kids can do them on their own, too, so barely any involvement, other than trying to work out how WeetBix ended up under the couch, is required by parents.
Look at it this way; you’re totally okay with feeding your kids a burger and fries, laden with fat and who knows what else, and with dubious nutritional components.
Yet, you are a Bad Mother if you feed your kid three WeetBix with milk, yogurt and a banana?
You’re absolutely ready for DOCS to be called in because you served up a couple of slices of toast, topped with a tin of baked beans which, mind you, are high in protein, complex carbs, lots of other lovely, helpful nutrients, and provide hours of fart based humour?
Bowl of muesli? You should have your kids taken away from you!
Cheese and tomato toastie? I don’t know how you were allowed to have kids in the first place!
The problem I have is just how confused this whole discourse is.
Lighten up, save some dollars, stay home, pour a glass of wine and sit down to a nice bowl of Special K with berries.
What wine would you choose with your Breakfast for Dinner meal? Does a nice dry white go better with baked beans on toast, or is a warm red more desireable?